Main Street Community Church, Frodsham

“It's not finished yet”: God's still at work!

A Brief History of Frodsham

Early History

Helsby Hill (123 metres) and Frodsham Hill are clear landmarks on the Cheshire plain. There are traces of Stone Age and Iron Age settlements on the hills of the area but the first known settlers in what is now Frodsham were Anglo-Saxons of the kingdom of Mercia. One possible origin of the name Frodsham is the Ham (a small village) established by Frod (or Froda), the leader of this group of Saxons. Another possible origin is the Ham on the Ford (over the local river, the Weaver).

Helsby was first settled by the Vikings who, in the tenth century AD, settled in the Wirral as far as Helsby or Hjallr-by (the village on the edge).

Both Frodsham and Macclesfield were owned by the Earl of Mercia before the Norman conquest. Both were valued at £8 in the Domesday survey: amongst the largest sums in Cheshire.

Frodsham was granted a charter by Ranulph de Blunville, Earl of Chester, in the 13th century. The charter gave it the right of self-administration. It sets out the rights of the burgesses, the citizens of the town. They were entitled to rent burgage plots of land in the town, they could use the common pasture and they were exempt from tolls in other places owned by their lord. Burgesses still had to use their lord's mills and ovens for grinding corn and baking bread.

In 1283 Frodsham had 110 burgages. According to the Cheshire County Council leaflet Historic Towns in Cheshire, Frodsham is regarded as the best surviving example of a planned medieval town in Cheshire with burgage plots lining the north side of Main Street and on Church Street.

1600 to 1799

1654
Frodsham Castle destroyed by fire
1661
A grant by letters patent from Charles II for a market to be held on Thursday each week
1750
Daniel Ashley buys the Castle ruins and builds Park Place on the site

1800 to 1849

1801
Frodsham Population about 1,250
1814
Methodist Victoria Hall opened on Fluin Lane (now a Carpet Warehouse)
1823
Trinity Wesleyan Chapel opens on Chapel Lane (see 1873)
1836-1851
The tithe maps were constructed. These can be viewed at http://maps.cheshire.gov.uk/tithemaps/. A modern map, aerial photographs from the early 1970s and OS maps from 1875 and 1910 are also viewable.
1837
The Rock Wesleyan Chapel opens (closed 1937, now Frodsham Library)

1850 to 1899

1850
The railway arrives in Frodsham
Construction of the sandstone bridge over the River Weaver, replacing the nearby brick bridge damaged during the Civil War
1851
Opening of St John the Evangelist, Kingsley
Frodsham Population about 2,179
1853
Wesleyan Chapel, Helsby, opened
1859
Eden Chapel built on Bradley Lane (closed 1994)
1864 to 1878
Bourne Primitive Methodist Chapel opens
1870
Consecration of St Paul's Church, Helsby
1871
Wesleyan Chapel, Kingsley, opens
1873
The rebuilt Trinity Wesleyan Chapel opens on Main Street on November 6th. It was redeveloped in the late 1900s and closed in 2000. Trinity Wesleyan Chapel
1877
Bourne Methodist Chapel opens (closed in 1987)
1880
Restoration of St Laurence Parish Church started. St Laurence Parish Church, Frodsham
St Dunstan's Church opened temporarily on Main Street (the St Dunstan's building is now Main Street Community Church)
1882
Restoration of St Laurence Parish Church completed, first service 30 November.
1885
Overton Five Crosses Wesleyan Chapel opens.
1886
Union Chapel, Bridge Lane, designed by John Douglas, built.
Kingsley Hall Children's Home opens.
1894
Frodsham becomes part of Runcorn Rural District.
Manchester Ship Canal opened.
1896
Kingsley Hall Children's Home closes.
1899
Parish Hall built

1900 to 1949

1901
Liverpool Sanatorium, Kingswood opens.
Territorial Drill Hall built on Main Street.
Frodsham Population about 2,728.
1903
Newton Hall branch of the NCH (National Children's Home) opens in Frodsham.
1905
Crossley Hospital (Manchester Sanatorium, Delamere) opens.
1908
J H Cross photographed the oldest people in Frodshamphoto of oldest inhabitants in 1908
The helter-skelter built on Frodsham Hill
1912
Ship Street sewer laid
1912/1915
Union Chapel, Bridge Lane, extended
1921
War memorial on Frodsham Hill completed in June, still visible from most of Frodsham
1925
Visit of King George V on 8th July
1928
Frodsham Library opened
1932
Castle Park given to the District Council
1949
St Luke's Catholic Church in Frodsham founded (in the building on Ship Street now used as the postal sorting office)

1950 to 1999

1951
Frodsham Newton Hall Methodist Chapel opens (closed 1983)
1951
Frodsham Population about 5,245
1958
Church Street Railway Bridge replaced
1971
M56 opens. The illustration here are of the railway bridge over the M56 near Sutton Weaver. This bridge is, I think, the one referred to in the list of interesting projects of Ribblesdale Cement Ltd. Railway bridge over M56 Railway bridge over M56
1974
Frodsham becomes part of the new Vale Royal Council
1978
New Frodsham Fire Station built. Information, pictures and the Fire Service work in Frodsham today at the Unofficial Frodsham Fire Station Website
1981
St Luke St Luke's church built on High Street site
1985
Newton Hall branch of the NCH (National Children's Home) closes
1987
Bourne Chapel closes and is converted to use as offices
1992
In July, Frodsham became a town with a mayor

2000 onwards

2000
Frodsham Methodist Trinity church closes and the site redeveloped for housing, though the spire remains. Picture of Trinity Chapel Spire
2005
Djibril Cissé, at the time a Liverpool and France footballer, became Lord of the Manor of Frodsham. The title was recorded in the Domesday book.
2006
Union Church closes after almost 120 years.
Frodsham Hill Wood purchased by The Woodland Trust.
2009
Vale Royal District Council and Cheshire County Council abolished. Frodsham put into the newly-formed Cheshire West and Chester unitary authority.

Some Sources and Further Information

Frodsham and Helsby in The Archive Photographs Series. Compiled by the Frodsham and District Local History Group and published by Chalford in 1995. ISBN 0-7524-0161-0. 120 pages of photographs from the mid-eighteenth century onwards.

Bygone Frodsham and District by David Nield published by Cheshire Libraries and Museums in 1985. ISBN 0-904532-13-5. Covering 1850-1940 in 52 pages (roughly A4 size landscape format) of photographs.

Historic Towns of Cheshire, published by Cheshire County Council, is a fact sheet in their Revealing Cheshire's Past series. It is number 8 in the series, available as an 847kB PDF file at www2.cheshire.gov.uk/Archaeology/RCP/files/rcp8.pdf.

Helsby Hill is partly in the care of the National Trust. It is listed and graded at www.megalithic.co.uk. It is listed by the County Council as one of Cheshire's Prehistoric Places to Visit.

The Frodsham and District Local History Group. As well as the Frodsham and Helsby book cited above, the Society has published many other books and pamphlets and holds regular meetings. The society is also developing an image archive with thousands of images of Frodsham and district.

The St Luke's Church website has a page on the church' history.